Mark Warburton believes QPR have brought in a better version of Charlie Austin than the one who left the club five years ago.
Austin enjoyed a dream second debut, scoring the opening goal in Rangers’ 2-0 win at Luton and looked very good during the 60 minutes he played alongside Lyndon Dykes at Kenilworth Road.
Austin nodded home from close range after Geoff Cameron flicked on an Ilias Chair corner.
Macauley Bonne’s late goal wrapped up the win – Rangers’ first in 11 league matches.
In addition to his goal, Austin held the ball up well and his presence clearly lifted the struggling Dykes, who has scored just one goal from open play this season.
“Charlie came home to the club where he is adored by the fans,” Rangers manager Warburton said.
“He has come back, his game has developed now to what it was back then. He is going to be a very big player for us.
“You saw the impact he had on Lyndon. They were linking up, bringing other players into play and we looked a good team.”
Warburton said the arrival of Austin has given the squad a much-needed boost after such a poor run.
“He is an experienced player and whenever you sign a player in January with his quality it always lifts the squad,” Warburton explained.
“I wasn’t too sure to start him or bring him on but I thought ‘why not?’
“The way he communicated to Lyndon was excellent and the partnership developed very early and he just talked his way through the game.
“We have to get him fit. The games are coming thick and fast so there is plenty of chance for him to do that. But his quality shone tonight.
“To get 60 minutes out of him was really pleasing.”
There were plenty of other impressive performances, with the back three of Rob Dickie, Geoff Cameron and Yoann Barbet all having excellent games to help the side to a sixth clean sheet of the campaign.
“It is a difficult place to come. It’s a bobbly surface and we dealt with it really well,” Warburton said.
“They posed a real threat to us going forward but we dealt with them well and to keep the clean sheet is pleasing.
“Two good goals a great team performance and three very good points.”